TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.
I do enjoy watching a TED talk occasionally. I watched some yesterday, about youth and porn. I had to remind myself these talks were about the United States. Hopefully things are better here in the Netherlands. A bit.
I also enjoyed this one about the power of vulnerability by Brené Brown which i watched over the weekend. A good story. And yes, already confirming ideas i had myself.
I do realize these talks are rather short and geared to a general public. I did a search for this and found this article and the video: We need to talk about TED.
The key rhetorical device for TED talks is a combination of epiphany and personal testimony (an “epiphimony” if you like ) through which the speaker shares a personal journey of insight and realisation, its triumphs and tribulations.
What is it that the TED audience hopes to get from this? A vicarious insight, a fleeting moment of wonder, an inkling that maybe it’s all going to work out after all? A spiritual buzz?
I’m sorry but this fails to meet the challenges that we are supposedly here to confront. These are complicated and difficult and are not given to tidy just-so solutions. They don’t care about anyone’s experience of optimism. Given the stakes, making our best and brightest waste their time – and the audience’s time – dancing like infomercial hosts is too high a price. It is cynical.
Also, it just doesn’t work.
I’m happy to see this is actually a talk about TED. I listened with interest.
Actual change is difficult. To get through to people is hard. People may like what you do, but for them to actually change something in their own life is extremely unlikely. Almost impossible.
Something for me to think about.